Rich Brown: MSSU campus ministry sees plans come to fruition

Taking care of chores at one of the Koinonia houses are (from left) Koinonia director David Weaver and residents Kevin Harvey, Michael Chang and David Brinkley. Globe | Anne Brown

A campus ministry for over a half-century at Missouri Southern State University took a giant step forward last month, paving the way for a bright future.

The nondenominational Koinonia Christian Campus Ministry has long had the dream of building a student housing ministry, and that dream took root with last month’s ribbon-cutting to mark completion of the first two homes, which house five students each.

That is a humble beginning, considering what the ministry has in store for the future on its 4.5 acre plot of land located less than a mile north of Missouri Southern at 1702 N. Duquesne Road. That site is located next to College View Baptist Church, where Koinonia holds its weekly meetings each Thursday night.

The ministry plans to build seven more houses and a 200-seat student center as funds become available.

“Our goal now is to raise the next $160,000 in the coming months to pay for infrastructure and a down payment on the next two houses,” said David Weaver, campus minister, who recently marked 30 years with the ministry. “After we have the first four houses completed and paid for, they will provide the cash flow from rent to build the student center, which will have a large group meeting area as well as a coffee shop-type environment in the back half of the building.”

Koinonia began in 1967 under the umbrella of College Heights Christian Church, where it met for many years.

It switched to the MSSU campus about 10 years ago, meeting in the Lions Den. Then, three months ago, College View allowed the ministry to hold its Thursday night meetings there. Weaver said Koinonia bought the plot of land two years ago and began praying about how to develop it.

Weaver, who holds degrees in Christian education from Ozark Christian College and general business and accounting from MSSU, said he got experience helping with housing needs by assisting victims of the 2011 Joplin tornado.

In his first year with Koinonia, Weaver said about 16 or 17 students were involved, and now the ministry has ballooned to about 120 this year.

“The people who live in these houses are deeply committed to the Lord,” said Weaver, who grew up about 80 miles south of Seattle, Washington, where his father served in the ministry. “They have a strong walk with the Lord and a strong faith.”

Weaver added that when he began with Koinonia, most of the members had parents who had been active in the church, but that has changed.

“We are running into a generation now where neither their parents nor grandparents go to church,” he said. “There is not the base in Christianity today that there was 30 years ago.”

Koinonia is one of two Christian organizations on the Missouri Southern campus.

“We are fortunate that MSSU is welcoming to our Christian organization,” said Weaver, “In some cases, we are hearing that Christian groups are no longer allowed to use the state college campus facilities.”

Want to give?

Anyone wishing more information or to donate to the Koinonia Christian Campus Ministry at Missouri Southern State University may go to www.koinoniamssu.org, or call David Weaver, campus minister, at 417-437-8929.